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It was the concern in Taryn's voice that alerted me to the fact that I had just been sitting on our mattress without speaking. Just staring at the floor....lost in a daze. "Sorry. I'm...I'm just thinking..."
"Are you sure?" He moved up behind me to rub my back a few times, then gently placed his chin on my shoulder.
I gave him a kiss on the cheek and tried to work up a somewhat decent smile. "I'm sure. We're fine, ok?"
"You said 'we', again. Who's 'we'?"
"Did I?" I thought about it for a moment. I didn't pay any attention to what I said as I was saying it. Maybe I did. "I guess I'm just tired. My head hurts a little bit."
"Awww, baby..." Taryn kissed me lightly. Every tender collision between his lips and mine was like a sip of the finest champagne. "Come on, lay down with me." He said, and he guided me backwards while snuggling up at my side. I liked the feel of Taryn's hand on my chest. I covered it with my own, and ran small circles on the back of his hand with my fingertips. His skin was soft. So unnaturally soft. Letting out a comforting sigh, I bought the hand to my lips to kiss it before placing it back over my heart where it belonged. "You wanna tell me what's on your mind?" He asked, just above a whisper.
I took my arm and wiggled it under his shoulders as he rolled in closer to lay his head on my chest. "I'm just...worried. I feel like...like I don't know who I am anymore. Or what I'm capable of. I feel like I'm losing control."
He hugged me around the waist, his gentle squeeze causing me to grace the top of his head with a tender kiss. "There's always a really long period of adjustment. For some vampires, it takes years to feel comfortable in the darkness. You're dealing with soooo much, and you have so little help. But I'm here for you. We all are. It just takes time for you to catch up to your own development."
"You might be right. But...sometimes it's like....I can just feel this intense...rage inside of me. This 'thing' that I've been trying to control but...now it feels like it's trying to control me instead. Sometimes....I think it wins." I said, and I felt Taryn tense up for a minute. Not by much...but a little.
"Like...at the warehouse?" He asked, his voice shaking gently with the memory of it. Those large, black, demon wings. Those hate-filled eyes. My fists pounding Soren's henchman into the floor. Again, and again, and again. It almost seems like a bad nightmare to me now. But the truth is...while I was smashing my knuckles into Natpea's face...as I felt the splashes of blood trickle down my chin and coat my fists with the warmth of his essence...I felt good. I felt free.
But, as terrified as Taryn was that night, witnessing the temporary loss of everything that made me human...I could never tell him that. "The warehouse was...an accident." I said. "That wasn't me."
Taryn was silent for a moment. Then he craned his neck up to kiss my lips briefly before laying his head back down. "Sometimes....people push you further than you've ever been before." He said. "And...when you get to that level...you never know what to expect. Even from yourself."
I hesitated at first, but I wanted to ask. "Taryn...are the others...afraid of me?"
"No..." He answered. A bit too quickly for my tastes. "...We know that you'd do anything to protect us from harm, Justin. You've proven that. Time and time again."
"What happens if things get worse? What happens if...it gets so bad that the only way for me to protect you all is to...give myself over to something else?"
Taryn looked up at me, his green eyes piercing right through me. "Justin? What do you mean? I don't understand."
"Sometimes...I feel like there is this infinite amount of power inside of me. Like...it's building up with every breath I take. But I'm afraid that if I open the floodgates, the dam will burst and I won't be able to stop myself from hurting the people I love." I sniffled a bit, but kept my composure as best as I could. "The more I fight it, the more it fights me back. And I don't know how much longer I can contain it. It takes sooooo much energy just to keep from exploding sometimes. And then...whenever someone pushes me...I'm never sure if the 'cage' will hold. It wasn't like this before, Taryn. I just want it to stop."
"I know, Justy. I know." He scooted up next to me to kiss my cheek repeatedly as he spoke. His love was the only thing keeping me strong. And at the same time, it was the one thing keeping me weak. "You won't have much longer. Everyone is doing all they can to find out what it is you need to know to balance out again. Doc's even trying to get access to all the vampire Mimic scriptures to see if they hold any clues as to how we can guide you to through the beginning stages. I'm sure if you practiced somewhere private, you could get a hold on some of these things. I can practice with you. We can all take turns if you want...."
The scriptures. Just how deep did Doc plan to go into the scriptures? What would he find within those hidden documents?
Would he discover the end of my legendary tale? The part where the only boy I've ever loved is murdered, and I'm forced to go through the rest of eternity.....alone?
Or the part where I give into the darkness completely...and I go through the rest of eternity insane? Heh...eternity. No doubt that if I end up becoming anything like Alec...the Elders will have me destroyed. They'd never stop hunting me. Never.
Taryn sent me a mental message, "You don't have to hide, Justin. Please, talk to me."
I kissed him again, wishing that I could somehow find an answer instead of more questions. Complex questions that led to locked doors and dead ends. Even in his warm embrace, I don't think I've ever felt so lost. "Do you believe in fate?" I asked him.
"Fate? Like, in what way?"
"In the kind of way where...everything follows a pattern? Where...no matter how hard you try, you always end up blindly following the game plan that fate set up for you in advance?" The idea of it sent a chill through me. Thoughts of Dylan in the laundromat...staring at a picture that *I* drew just seconds before...not knowing that he was seeing his own death at the time.
Taryn thought for a moment, and he said, "I guess I do. To some degree."
"Well, sure. I mean, why not? Fate somehow brought me into darkness. Fate brought me here to Bryson's lot." He kissed my cheek again. "It certainly played a hand in bringing me to you."
That really wasn't the answer I wanted to hear. "Did it?"
"Yeah. Honestly...the first night I saw you...I don't know, there was something magical about it. I don't know what it was, but I just...I felt something 'pulling' me towards Navy Pier that night. I couldn't explain it. There was just this feeling that I had to go." His hand rubbed my chest as a dreamy smile appeared on his lips. "Then it was like...I saw you, and my whole life changed. Even though you were clearly in pain...you had this glow about you. Something about watching you just felt right. If that was a part of fate's plan...then I consider it a gift. I never regretted a single second of it."
I felt a tear escape from the corner of my eye, and I asked, "What if...at the end of our circle...fate has a plan that doesn't work out the way it should...for the both of us? What then?" He gave me a strange look, and I had to wipe my tears away before they got out of control and I ended up worrying him more than necessary. "I just don't think it's fair. I don't want my life to just be a part of some stupid 'plan'. If everything I've been through was supposed to have some sort of purpose, then I hate the designer. With every fiber of my being."
Taryn turned my head to look him in the eye, and he said, "But don't you get it, Justin? You're the designer. Your fate is determined by the choices you make. Your path is enhanced or destroyed based on what you do and what you feel right now. It may act like a line of falling dominoes...but you're the one setting them up. You're the one knocking them down."
I wanted that concept to be enough. I did. But between Dylan's injuries and my fear for Taryn's safety....it was better to distract myself from the subject. "I love you." I said, kissing those sweet lips again with a faked smile. "How did you get so wise, anyway?"
"Are you saying you thought I was an idiot before?" He grinned.
"Well, you really are too pretty to be so smart and loveable too. That's like, so unfair."
"Lucky for me there's two of us then, isn't it?" He said with another angelic kiss on the lips. But he then took a moment to get serious, and he said, "You're going to be ok, Justin. Help is coming. We're going to help you understand whatever it is that you need to know abut yourself and the rest of us. Everything about you is beautiful. It always has been. And if fate is even remotely real...then I can't imagine that it would put this kind of immaculate burden upon a soul that was anything less than amazing." He stroked my cheek softly, and then said, "And once you figure it all out, I want you to start teaching me all of these little tricks of yours in alphabetical order. Hehehe, I don't like that I have ten years on you in darkness and yet you're so much stronger than me. It sucks. BIG time! Hehehe!"
"Hahaha! Aww, sweetie...the SECOND I figure out what the hell I'm doing with all these extra abilities, you'll be the first to know. I promise." I giggled. I held him close, and I told him, "You know...I'd do anything to protect you, right? I'd never let anyone hurt you. Not ever."
"I know." He said. But then added, "Just don't ever think that you have to put me ahead of what's right. Whatever it is that's got you so worried...if it's about me, I want you to forget about it, ok? Please, Justin...just follow your heart. It's the only thing that matters."
Taking his comments in and trying to just...mold them to fit what I thought was more comfortable than what he was saying at the time, I gave him a smirk. "I've got something that I could show you right now, if you want." Another distraction from the hard core truth that was knocking rudely at my door.
"Something?" He asked with a giggle.
I kissed Taryn deeply on the lips, and worked my hand down until I had pulled his pants and his boxers down far enough to gain access to what I was craving. I heard him snicker a bit but his lips never disconnected from my own. I always thought that it was so CUTE that Taryn could kiss and giggle at the same time. It was just an adorable expression of what we felt for one another. Intense, but not overwhelming. A playful part of what we became whenever we were together. It made things 'fun'.
"What are you doing?" He asked, as I began to work my fingertips into the tight cleft between his ripe, boyish, ass cheeks.
"I wanna show you something..." I smiled.
"Show me something like what?"
"Well, if you'd just RELAX for a second, I'd show you!" I said with a wicked smile, and Taryn's eyes opened wide as I stuck my middle finger in between my lips and sucked on it until it was wet.
"I believe you've showed me this trick before, Justin, hehehe..." He blushed sweetly.
"Not like this, I haven't." I smiled back at him, and felt him roll over to the side more, 'frogging' his legs out for me and raising his hips to grant me access. Already, he was hard and pulsing, waiting for me. His eyes half shut with the dreamiest of gazes. One look at him, and I was drawn in for a taste of those candy sweet lips. Then I circled the tight, re-virginized, opening beneath him, feeling his tender cheeks clench up around my invading finger. Only for a second, until he breathed deeply and reminded himself to relax. He closed his eyes, and a little grin spread across his thin lips as I slid inside with a gentle push. Taryn's body wiggled a bit, but he bent his knees more, and I could feel the heat of his insides swelling up around me. I kissed the side of his neck, and his young body gave way to the rest of me. Now deeply inserted into his quivering muscle, I whispered in his ear, "You ready?"
"Ready for what?" He sighed...
"Hold on to something..." I grinned, and I let a very soft vibration travel down my arm and surge through the tip of my finger. Instantly, Taryn's eyes flew open, and he constricted his hole as tightly as he possibly could. Hehehe, it nearly cut off the circulation in my finger completely. Little did he know that clenching up was only making the vibrations more powerful. "Hehehe, I told you to hold onto something..."
"What the fuck is THAT???" He said, gasping, his whole body shivering with twitches of pleasure. "What....what are you doing....oh God!"
"It's a little bit of Gyro's extra...mixed with a little bit of Jeremy's to tune in to your specific vibration...mixed with a little bit of some euphoric extra I picked up at the IceZone. Heh...the more I focus on these things, the more I'm starting to see how they're all connected somehow. Some of the combinations can be pretty damn effective. But I guess you already know that, hehehe..."
Taryn's legs began to kick out, and his squirming was so out of control that I was worried he'd pull my finger right off of my hand. His hand reached out and gripped my arm hard just above the elbow. His teeth were gritted together, the pleasure was almost too much for him to take. I looked down to see him leaking profusely from his excited tip, the shaft turning a deep shade of pink from the strain.
I leaned into his ear, and moaned, "Imagine if I laced my voice with Maria's extra from the club on top of it..." I changed my voice to seduce him with a hypnotic tone that spoke directly to his deepest sexual desires, intensifying the feeling tenfold as his mind and emotions became just as stimulated as his body was.
"OKAY!!!! OKAY!!!! STOP!!!!" Taryn screamed! It shocked the hell out of me, and it was so loud that I'm sure everybody in the lot heard him. In fact, everybody in the city of Chicago probably heard him! I reached over and covered his mouth with my hand, giggling like crazy as I tried to keep him from wiggling so much. "Mmmmph!! Mmmph!!" He whimpered in desperation, and I couldn't just turn it all off right away. I had to let each extra fade and kinda taper off by itself. But seeing as it was an 'emergency' and all, I tried to make it happen as fast as possible.
"Hehehe, are you ok?" I asked him, my finger still tightly locked in to his sucking hole.
Panting to the point of near hyperventilation, he huffed, "Th-That was....um...wow...I don't know if I can handle all that. Heh....baby, that's...fuckin' BADASS, but....whoah...yeah, I'm not ready for that just yet." He was sweating now, his eyes fogged over, his heart beating out of control. I guess I overdid it a little bit. I leaned in to kiss him, and he almost jumped right out of his skin! "DON'T touch me!!! Wait...hehehe, wait like....for just like...five minutes or something. I can't...I can't take it."
I grinned. "But five minutes is such a long time..." I moved in for another kiss on his neck, but he pushed me away with a laugh and a shiver.
"Ahhh! No! You have to wait. That tickles! Everything tickles right now. Just...let me catch my breath, k?"
"Aww, you're no fun."
"I'm living with a virgin body, Justy! Hehehe! Geez, you're lucky I didn't spackle the whole ceiling after what you just did to me!" He said.
"Do you think we could get cleaning it up on Trevor's list of chores to do around the lot? Bryson might just go for something like that." I watched Taryn as he just stared off into space with a goofy grin on his face, still blushed a deep red from his sexual assault on the senses. "Can I kiss you now?"
"NO!!! You have to wait!" He grinned, then spasmed as I lightly wriggled my finger around inside of him. "AHHH!!! Get out of there!" He pushed my hand out, my finger numb from being crushed so hard by the grasp of his snug little ring. "You get your finger out of me before you accidentally shoot a lightning bolt up my butt or something."
"Hehehe, accidentally? Psh! That was actually my plan all along. I thought you'd be into it." I laughed and he hit me on the chest with his fist, but still hadn't caught his breath yet. But as a few moments passed, and his huffing and puffing had calmed down a bit, I just couldn't help myself anymore. I kissed him delicately on the cheek, and cuddled up closer to him while he did his best to keep from having relapse tremors course through his system. "That was too much juice, wasn't it? I'm sorry."
He kissed me back this time. "You are awesome on a level that I can't even describe, you know that?"He sighed, and he stared into my eyes as I brushed his medium length reddish brown silk from off of his cheek. I've never seen a more beautiful sight. Not even in the most vivid of all my dreams.
I stared into those emerald eyes, overwhelmed with emotion. And I said, "You know...I'd split the Earth in two just to protect you. You know that, right?"
His smile was so casual. So void of worry or concern. He had no idea. "What are you talking about? Hehehe, I'm not going anywhere, Justin I promise. You've already saved me from the most unbearable part of my life. Loneliness." He kissed my lips, and told me, "No matter what...I'm going to love you for the rest of eternity. And love never dies."
Already, I could feel the rising sun sapping the energy from us both. Taryn was always more sensitive to daylight than I was, but he attempted to hold back his yawn anyway. We pulled the covers over us for the night, but then lay on our sides, holding our eye contact, not saying a word. A few kisses were shared. We snuggled close, our noses touching. And as I felt Taryn's body going cold, I made sure that the last thing he felt before the big sleep was my loving kiss.
"I love you, Taryn...." I whispered. But he was already out. Dead to the world for the next twelve hours or so.
Seeing him like that...it nearly brought tears to my eyes. The thought of this boy...this amazing, angelic, boy...lying dead and cold like this....never to wake again...it was a pain that I wouldn't be able to survive. I know that for a fact. There would be no limit to my suffering. The world would have no further meaning without my Taryn. I would have no meaning either. I'd risk it all to keep him safe. Even madness.
When the first tingles of feeling returned to my body the following evening, I dreaded returning to consciousness completely. I kept my eyes closed. Almost willing myself back to sleep. I wasn't ready to say goodbye. I don't think any of us were ready. Dylan had been with the group for much longer than I have, but it was long enough for him to become an essential part of our family. One that we couldn't bear to lose. I just can't imagine walking out of our trailer night after night....and not seeing him there.
I refused to open my eyes. But I reached out to feel around and make sure that Taryn was still at my side. He was close, but still cold. I guess I had woken up early again. I lifted the blanket to make sure it was draped lightly over his shoulders, and then rolled over onto my back to meditate on a possible last minute solution.
It was a redundant exercise. These were all extras that I had been through before. Even with al of the combinations that I could possibly think of, none of them seemed to be able to repair a vampire heart without killing both the victim and the healer. I tried starting with Rain and Bryson's extras first, as they were the closest ones to what I needed to accomplish. I tried adding all of the other possible abilities to that basic formula, and when that didn't work, I tried thinking of something else that might have a positive effect. To prolong his life a bit more, if not solve the process completely. I could feel myself physically clenching my fists in the bed as I frantically searched through, what felt like, a thousand different abilities at once. But the ideas just continued to spin aimlessly in my head, providing no cure whatsoever. None.
And then...that 'light' again. Always in the very back of my mind. The hidden corners of my subconscious. It was so faint, so distant...I could never tell what it was. But it just wasn't a part of me. I knew that for sure. I attempted to focus on it, but any attempt to do so only made it more difficult to find. It's like it was just sitting there...waiting for me. And I couldn't get to it because I didn't know how. I might as well reach my arm out to the sky in an attempt to touch the moon. Pointless. So pointless.
However, it was a second later that I became aware of another presence in my mind. Behind my closed eyelids, the darkness seemed to get even darker. Colder. And for a moment...I could hear the deep monstrous breathing of that foul black creature. Still feeding off of my pain. Still waiting for me to lose control. To give it the strength to come back again. And this time...the hatred and suffering that the Beast inspired within me...it acted as a 'bridge' of sorts. A bridge...that was leading me right back to Rage.
With a gasp, I opened my eyes, and I felt Taryn's warm hand on my chest. How long had I been laying there? What happened? Is Alec....still alive?
Taryn's eyes were a bit swollen and red. He knew what was going to happen this evening. He knew that saying goodbye to Dylan was going to be even more difficult than we had originally imagined. But...as I looked at him...something came over me.
He was so weak. So fragile. Crying over the loss of ONE meaningless vampire. If he was so weak...maybe he deserves to die with him. Who would miss him. Disloyal bastard. He left me behind. Left me to be raped...and tortured...he wanted me to DIE in that place!!!
I felt my hand reach out as I gritted my teeth together. And I wrapped my fingers around his throat. The flesh was so soft. I could crush his windpipe with hardly any effort at all. He wouldn't be able to scream for help. I could make him pay. I could slowly murder him while he looked up at me in horrified silence. Weakness. I, too, was weak once. But not anymore. Now *I'M* the strong one. Now I am in control. And what better way to prove that, than by snapping his neck and watching him die in agonizing pain?
"Justin?" He said, seeing a strange look in my eyes. I clutched his throat, and slowly began to tighten my grip. "Jus....Justin...uck....ahhh....what are you.....what are you doing...???" He gurgled, and he gagged, but it only made me smile. An evil smile. A vengeful smile. And just as his face turned red, and he began to punch and claw at me to let him go...I gave him a harsh twist of my wrist. And delighted in the sound of a sickening snap. His eyes going blank immediately.
Again...I opened my eyes with a gasp. The snap still echoing in my ears. And I saw Taryn laying next to me, propped up on his elbow and lightly rubbing my chest. His eyes were a bit swollen and red. He knew what was going to happen this evening. He knew that saying goodbye to Dylan was going to be even more difficult than we had originally imagined. Wait...I've done this before. No.....no no no...
Taryn seemed slightly confused when I abruptly sat up on the mattress and turned my back to him. "Justin?" He asked, but I didn't answer. I was afraid to. Was that a circle? Or was that a dream? Or was that...something else entirely. I looked down at my hands. How could I do something so fucking terrible...with these hands?
I could feel myself shaking. Wondering if I should get up and run out of the trailer before I lost control of my mind again. Could I possibly be capable of something like that? Could I....hurt the one I love?
"Justin, what's wrong?" Taryn said but the second he touched me, I jumped and moved further away from him. I didn't want to put my hands on him. I was too scared to make any contact at all.
It took me a few moments to catch my breath. My mind was trying to 'check' itself for any further malfunctions that I wasn't aware of. I looked at my surroundings, looking for anything that might be out of place. Praying that...reality would set in at some point and make it ok for me to relax.
"Baby? Do you want me to get somebody, or...?"
My hands were still trembling, but...I replied, "No. Ummm....no, I'm ok. I just...I had a nightmare, I think. That's all." I looked at Taryn's face, afraid of what I might feel. Afraid of what I might do. But when I saw those lovely angelic features, his eyes full of worry...only my undying love for him came to the surface.
I hesitated at first. But soon, I sat back down beside him, and I held him in my arms. Just feeling him so close to me, with no thoughts of murder or malice in my heart. I have to get rid of this. I have to get better. How long can I go on like this before I find myself doing something I'll seriously regret? Even worse than what I've done already. I already can't trust my own emotions. If I've absorbed anything from The Beast or Alec during our last fight...it will only make things infinitely worse.
No more accidents. No more outbursts. I can't afford to mess up again. Bryson won't accept any more excuses from me. He shouldn't. I don't want to get worse. I want to get better. I'll take his advice and hold out for as long as I can, but if the Jeweler has any answers for me at all...I'm gonna need them a lot sooner than later.
>From the sound of things...no one else in the lot really wanted to wake up either. The entire area outside of our door was deadly silent. As though us waiting for the inevitable 'run down' of the clock would somehow keep Dylan with us for another day. It was a brittle illusion to try to maintain. It didn't take much more than the opening of Dion's door to shatter it to pieces. Only then did the rest of us find the strength to come out of hiding...and face what was coming.
Taryn and I eventually opened the door to our trailer, and shared a sweet kiss before going out to meet with the others. Needless to say...the overall vibe of the lot was extremely blue tonight. You could feel it in the air around you the second your eyes connected to anyone else's. It was a suffocating pressure that took hold of you immediately. Everyone kept their eyes to the ground. All we saw was dirt. All we heard were sad whispers amongst one another. Nothing more. It was quite possibly the most uncomfortable atmosphere that I had been in since those nights when my father was already a six pack of beer deep before I came home from school. I felt like I was being...squeezed from within. It hurt. It just hurt like you wouldn't believe.
I noticed Bryson trying to get my attention for a moment, but he didn't call me over. Instead our eyes connected, and he gave me a look that basically begged me to tell him whether I had found an alternative to this sunquest. Something. Anything. No matter what...I guess some people just can't accept that some things are unavoidable...whether they feel they're able to deal with it or not. I've been there many times myself. It never gets any easier. But the truth remains...after tonight, despite the hope and the protests and the anger and the despair...this was happening. It was a blow that we were going to have to take. And there was sure to be an extended period of suffering afterwards. That went without saying.
With teary eyes, I shook my head back and forth to let him know that I hadn't found a magic solution to all this. And even though he seemed saddened by that, he nodded, and chose to go about the business of making sure that everyone was awake and moving around so we could get ready for Dylan's big goodbye. As much as we were all having difficulties expressing our emotions surrounding this...Bryson had to be the strongest. Having him break down would have made all of us fall apart. I think we were secretly hoping that he would crack, if for no other reason than we needed the release. But he never did. So we were on our best behavior. Suck it up and give Dylan the kind of party that he would be proud of. If we can....
The hardest part was trying to convince Jenna to leave the lot for a while and come back when we were all ready. Even with her practiced extra, her empathic abilities was making it extremely hard for us to concentrate. She couldn't help herself. She had a habit of spilling over with emotion, and when that extra infected the rest of us...it made us all so miserable that it was difficult to breathe. So she took Kid and left the lot for a little while, letting us know that she'd meet us on the beach at the agreed time. I'm sure her emotions had affected me as well...but...even when she was gone...I can't claim to feel any better.
Taryn stayed attached to my side, his random tears soaking into my shirt as they came to him. I could only hold him tight and hope that we could make it through this. However...when I saw Dion looking at our embrace from across the lot, his eyes misty, even though he was trying to use his emotion cancellation extra to full capacity....I felt ashamed. I loosened my grip on Taryn, and stepped away from him. How could I do it? How could I cherish the love of my boyfriend knowing that Dion's love was departing from us forever?
It wasn't a 'mean' look in his eyes....but one of true sorrow. I saw Dion turn away from me, and try to busy himself with something as he ignored what Taryn and I had together. It was a misery that he wasn't used to after all these years in darkness. He seemed totally unprepared to deal with it. And I had no way to help him through it.
Did he still blame me for his loss? How could I know? He refused to even to talk to me. Or any of us for that matter.
Dylan, on the other hand, was a different story...
"Justin, can you wear this?" He said, coming up to me and pressing one of his favorite shirts against my chest. I didn't answer. Neither did Taryn. But Dylan rambled on anyway. "It's still too small. Ah well. Can you guys do me a big favor, and take my clothes to the church for the needy? I mean...all my stuff is too 'skinny' for anybody here to wear. I'd give it to Kid, but it's not like he's gonna grow into it or anything. I just don't want my stuff to go to waste, you know?" His big bright eyes....it was like he couldn't understand why everyone else was so sad. Almost as if he was too innocent to grasp the concept, but mature enough to recognize when he saw it. "Hey now...this isn't how I want my party to be. You're supposed to be happy for me. Not sulking and gloomy and stuff. That's not fair."
I tried to work up a smile, but it only triggered a twin pair of tears to run from my eyes. "I'm sorry. I'll be...I'll perk up. I want you to have a good time tonight, ok?"
Taryn let go of me, and moved forward to give Dylan a hug around the neck. "I'm gonna miss you soooo much! This is SO wrong!"
"It's ok...." Dylan mumbled under his breath. "I'm not afraid. Really...I'm not. There's a plan for everything, and I'm just...I'm glad to be a part of it. Whatever that may be." He let Taryn go, and he looked at the both of us, our tears getting his eyes all watery too, before he interrupted the moment. "I had lotsa sex tonight! Hehehe!"
It was so sudden, so out of character for him, that Taryn and I couldn't help but to laugh out loud at the comment. I tried not to cry and follow my smile instead. "So...you had a double feature tonight, you and Dion, huh?"
Dylan giggled sweetly, and with a blush, he looked around, and then held up three fingers as he secretly bragged about his exploits for the evening. Our jaws dropped, and he just said, "I guess he's gonna miss me, huh?" I think that comment made our smiles fade a bit, and Dylan jumped in to say, "Nuh unh! No sad faces! We're gonna have a good time tonight, ok? I even made Dion promise not to hog me all to himself once we get out to the lake. It's gonna be great."
"How did you manage that?" Taryn asked softly.
"I have a very persuasive booty. That's how." He grinned, and our jaws dropped even wider than before. "Hehehe! Even if it IS a little 'sore' right now. Doesn't matter. He promised to behave."
"So your booty is what did the trick, huh?" Taryn smirked.
"Yep! Because it's so cute!" Dylan chuckled.
I said, "Yeah, I kinda remember from the shower." Which made Dylan blush really hard, but he never lost his smile. Not ever.
Bryson walked over and put a hand on Dylan's shoulder to talk to him in private. So we let him go. But as we looked around the lot, our feelings of despair got even more hopeless. I saw Doc wheeling himself silently across the lot, his glasses fogged up to the point where I doubted he could see a thing. Rain was using a tiny piece of metal to cut short grooves into the meat of her forearm, but didn't do anything too drastic to knock herself out and make her miss Dylan's final night. Even Max seemed to be hiding his face from the rest of us. The idea of Max and his hardcore exterior...being so exposed and vulnerable to the cold emotion of losing someone so close to us...it was a rarity for him. Something that I had never witnessed before. Somehow, it made me sink even deeper into my sorrow.
If only I could have saved him....none of this would have happened. None of it.
An hour passed, and we couldn't put things off for much longer.
Gyro sprinted into the lot with some low grade fireworks that he bought from God knows where, and a bag that he handed to Dylan specifically. Dylan opened them up a seemed pleased. "Is that what you wanted?" Gyro asked.
"It's EXACTLY what I wanted! Thank you!" Dylan hugged him tight, and I watched as he pulled a giant bag of Jolly Ranchers and a few lollipops out of the bag.
"That's it?" Bryson asked. "Candy? That's all you wanted? You could have had candy here."
"Awww, I know...but...I like candy." Dylan said with a shrug. "My dad....when I was in daylight...he wouldn't let me eat lollipops. He said they led to an unhealthy oral fixation and that it was dirty. So I had to eat regular candy like Jolly Ranchers. Without the stick. So now...I get to have both! And I'm gonna enjoy them!" He said "Thanks Gyro!"
He hugged him again, and I noticed that Trevor and Michael were off to the side, trying their hardest to pretend not to care. But they did. I could feel it. In fact, even through all of the trouble Trevor had put me through for the first few months that I was with the group...now that I've learned to sense emotions a little better than before, I could tell that half of Trevor's nasty disposition was an act. And the other half was some weird defense mechanism that kept him from getting hurt again...as he has been countless times before. I guess you could say that it gave me a whole new perspective on who he was as a person. And who he was as a person...wasn't all that bad.
As people gathered their things for the night, and Dylan gave away the last of his meager possessions to the people that he wanted to have them, we all met up with Bryson at the front gate, and prepared to escort Dylan out to the lake....for the last time.
He turned around for a moment, with Dion holding his hand, and he looked at the abandoned junkyard as if it were a palace, built on a mountain of gold. He took a moment of silence to absorb it all, and his eyes watered as he reminisced over all of the wonderful times that he had spent there with the rest of us. Then....he squeezed Dion's hand, smiled....and he turned to leave it all behind. He was a much braver boy than I could have ever been. Maybe he had faith on his side.
The long walk to the lake was a quiet one. We didn't know what to say. It was a funeral march that tore a hole through all of us. But Dylan remained in Dion's arms, the two of them in step the entire journey. And when we got there, Dion didn't let go. He held his sweetheart tight. And he cried until his eyes almost gave out on him.
No one was there but us. Dylan said, "I didn't really make many friends out here in darkness. But the ones I did make...I wouldn't trade them for the world. Not ever." And he meant every word of it. He played, and he laughed, and he did more to cheer us up than we EVER could have done to settle his nerves. Those few hours spent in front of the lake....Dylan really let loose and got a chance to show us who he really was a a person. It was...in a word...beautiful.
The evening was mostly a blur to me. I was actually thankful that Taryn needed to hold on to me for support. I think that trying to soothe his fears and pains was the only thing that kept me sane that night.
Jenna cried the entire time. She just couldn't stop. Jun just stared out at the waves as they came in. He didn't want to interact too much with the rest of us. Dion tried to keep Dylan by his side, but Dylan was too busy trying to cheer everybody up. Trying to make this a joyous occasion. He played around in the sand with Kid and laughed with Gyro and there was even a moment when he made amends with Trevor and Michael. They never really did get along much, but I guess Dylan didn't want to leave with any loose ends holding him back from a truly pleasant departure.
How can a heart so accepting....so forgiving...possibly be damaged beyond repair? How?
I think Dylan was the first to notice that the night sky was becoming a bit brighter than it was before. Doc had his laptop, but he wasn't checking the time on it. We didn't want to. We wanted this night to last forever. Even if we knew, deep down, that it couldn't.
Dylan's happy-go-lucky prancing was beginning to slow down as he neared his final hour. And that's when he came to me. Me specifically. And he said, "I know that you did everything you could to try to help me, Justin. I know. K?" It wasn't what I wanted to hear. Far from it. "Listen to me...I believe in you. Ok? In daylight...my parents tried to force my beliefs to fit a certain limited format. They tried to hurt me and manipulate me and force me to be what they wanted me to be. But even through the worst of it...my belief was stronger than all of it. My belief never failed me. Not once." He said, and gave me a smile. "That same belief lies within you, Justin. Even when you doubt yourself...I never doubted you for a minute. No matter what your future holds, no matter what horrors your past is filled with...you are exactly what God intended. You don't have to be any better than you are right now. Just listen to your heart. The same way I listened to mine back in that hospital. It will never steer you wrong. You'll know what to do when you need to do it. You taught me that, Justin. It's the most important lessons I've ever learned in life. Because of you...I took a chance. Because of you...I made my life something worth talking about."
My throat burned with agony, and I lowered my yes as I felt the emotion forcing me to tears. "I don't want to say goodbye."
"You don't have to. I'll always be with you. Always. I'm just...honored to be someone worth remembering, when it's all said and done." He said. I sniffled some more, and the sobs followed without restriction. But he lifted my head for a moment, saying, "Justin....you make me one promise before I go, ok? Just one."
"Anything..." I said, my face feverish with more tears than I could hide.
"You keep fighting. You keep doing whatever it is you need to do to be the vampire that you need to be. Ok?" He said. "Please? Just...be the hero for them...that you are to me. I know that people are going to try to tear you down, and that decisions will become more difficult in the times to come. But there is no suffering without purpose. No negativity that can't be channeled into something positive. If only you can find a way to believe that there's more than one answer.....then you can help other people believe the same thing." He said, as a tear dripped from his eye. "They don't need your leadership, Justin. They need your help. Don't try to save them. Help them work up the courage to save themselves. It's the only way."
Crying uncontrollably now, I said, "I'll...do what I can. I promise."
He hugged me around the neck and said, "I've 'seen' what you can do. And believe me when I say...that's more than enough." I held Dylan close, now realizing that the rest of the lot as circling up around us as the sky got even brighter with the approaching sunlight. "Don't be sad, Justin..." He said. "This is where the suffering 'stops' for me. This is where my story ends, and a new story begins. Just don't forget me, ok?"
I was almost too choked up to speak at that point. And I said, "I'll NEVER forget you, Dylan. Never."
"Justin?" He said.
With a sniffle, I replied, "Yeah?"
"Take it..." He said, clutching even tighter around my neck with his loving embrace.
"Take what?" I asked.
"My extra. Take it. Absorb it. Take it all. I won't need it anymore. Just...don't let my gift die with me. K?" He cried. I wasn't even sure if that was how my Mimic abilities worked, but if it meant holding Dylan's slim body in my arms for a little bit longer....how could I deny him?
"I'm so sorry, Dylan...." I wailed. But he didn't let me continue. He just wanted me to know that he cared. Nothing more.
"Don't be, Justin. I'm not. I'm not sorry for any of this." He said. "You've been a true friend. One of the best that I've ever had. Thank you for that. The time we spent together was...more than I could have ever wished for." He then released his grip on me, and kissed me on the cheek. I think he blushed more than I did when he did it. Then he looked in my eyes, and he said, "Thank you, Justin. Thank you for being a part of a life that I'm truly proud of." I don't think I had ever experienced a pain like the one I felt when I had to back away from Dylan and let the others come in to wish him well on his next big journey into the unknown.
And as he let me go, the others stepped up to say goodbye as well. I watched them all weep on Dylan's shoulder, one by one, exchanging meaningful last words and forgotten memories of the times they spent together as a family. I believe that it was the first time I had ever seen Gyro cry. Certainly the first time that I had ever seen Trevor cry. Bryson could only break down and apologize a thousand times over for not finding the cure for his dilemma in time.
But Dylan just said, "It's ok. If I was meant to go, then I was just meant to go. Just as it was meant for you to go on." Dylan hugged him closely, and said, "You were the father I wished I always had, Bryson. Just...keep doing good things. They needed you, and you were there. Every time. Without fail. Don't ever change k?"
That said, Bryson held on to Dylan as though the brute strength of his embrace could keep him alive.
But it couldn't. It just...couldn't.
The horizon was brightening up at the very edge of the lake, and if we didn't leave soon...we wouldn't make it back in time.
That left only one person...to say goodbye to Dylan....forever.
The rest of us found ourselves holding one another as we watched Dion climb up onto the rocks...to stand face to face with the only boy he's ever allowed himself to love. The one he was planning to build a future with. I think at the sight of them together...was almost too much for me to take. Taryn cried in my arms, but we were barely able to stand it. Either one of us.
Dion cried as he looked into Dylan's beautiful eyes...and Dylan reached up to caress his cheek in the sweetest way. "I'm not going to say goodbye to you..." Dion sobbed. "I won't do it."
"You don't have to. Not you." Dylan said.
"I'm not going to let you die!" He said, defiantly. "I'm going to stay here with you. And we can go together. You and me. A place of our own....where we could be together forever. That was the plan right?"
Dylan's tears dripped down his cheeks, and as grateful as he was for his boyfriend's affection....he said, "No, Dion. The plan's been changed. I'm assuming for what's best." He gave Dion a sweet kiss on the lips, and he said, "I don't know where we all go from here...but wherever it is...I'll be there. Waiting for my sweetie to join me again in paradise." Then he added, with a sniffle, "And you had better make me wait a loooong long time. You hear me?"
"I'm not gonna let you die. I can't...." Dion wailed.
"I died a year ago." He said. "I've just been holding on." He then forced Dion to look him in the eye, and he sobbed, "But because of you...I now know what it's like to really 'live'. From the first time you kissed me...to this very moment. There are people who live to be 100 and never know the kind of love you've given me these past few months. I'm one of the lucky ones. And all I ever wanted was to make you feel like one of the lucky ones too."
Dion wouldn't let go of him. He buried his face in Dylan's shoulder, and whispered, "You did. You made me 'feel' again. You made me want to feel again. I'm nothing without you.......nothing...."
Dylan told him, "Then you have nothing to worry about. Because you'll never be without me. You've given me enough love to last an eternity. The more you love me...the closer I'll be. K?" They shared one last kiss. A magical kiss. One that a million tears couldn't define. It lasted so long that Bryson became a little worried that the approaching dawn would catch us all if he didn't say something. But he didn't. He remained silent. Even when he saw Kid yawning, and knew that we wouldn't be far behind him.
Dion and Dylan shared a loving connection for a moment, and Dion told him..."You're everything I ever wanted, Dylan. You were my blessing in disguise. My music. My salvation. I can't promise to make it long out here without you."
He simply replied, "Find a way. And we'll meet again in the after." And they shared a long and passionate kiss before Dylan felt the dizziness of his sleep cycle coming on, and gently pushed his boyfriend away. "Go. You guys need to get back before it's too late. K?"
Dion asked, "Is....it there anything else that you want?"
"Nope. I've got my lollipop. My first one in a long time. It's all I need now."
Dion stood his ground for a while longer, but Dylan eventually force him away. Not without a few dozen extra kisses though. It was so surreal. I couldn't believe what was happening. But as Dion ran his fingers through Dylan's silken hair one last time, and then stepped down from the rocks...I knew that this wasn't just a dream. We were actually bidding him a fond farewell.
It was the last time I was going to see that smile. The last time he was going to make me giggle or scare the hell out of me by appearing out of nowhere. The....last time.
We all gathered up, the sky now changing colors. We were pushing it. Definitely. So we had no choice but to grab our stuff....and leave Dylan behind.
Supposedly....it's custom for vampires to have an official 'walk away' from the vampire who is having the sunquest. Where everyone has paid their last respect, they walk away, and they don't turn back. It was meant to be a traditional sign of respect. Something to say that the vampire was loved soooo much, that they were willing to let him pass on without any feelings of loss or guilt remaining.
As we began our march back to the lot..not a single one of us could resist. We all turned back. Every last one of us. To take one last glance at our cutie before the end came.
Standing on the rocks...the waves of the lake crashing behind him...the sky blossoming with brilliant colors as the sunrise continued its inevitable approach...
...We saw Dylan watching us all from a distance. The shyest of smiles on his beautifully boyish face. But his cheeks drenched in tears. He was, by far, the most innocent soul among us. Hands down. His loss was....more tragic than anything we could comprehend at that moment. And probably not for months to come.
I think it made him really happy to see us look back though. To know that we'd keep him in our hearts, even after he was gone. I guess it just meant a lot to him to know that he was adored soooo much by the people he loved more than daylight itself. For the first time in his life...he truly knew what it was like...to not be 'invisible'.
All of us were sobbing and sniffling uncontrollably. But Dylan just broadened his smile, and bashfully...he raised his arm a little to give us a farewell wave. The emotion caught in his throat...as he tried to be strong for the rest of us.
Dion didn't hold the emotion in with his extra this time. In fact, he was so weak that Bryson and Jun had to help hold him up. But nothing more could be said. Nothing more could be done. With a somber nod, Dylan told us to go. He wiped the excess of tears from his eyes, and I saw him look up at the sky briefly....before turning around to sit down on the rocks. With a sigh, he opened up his lollipop, and he slid it between his lips.
Dylan whispered a soft prayer to himself, and let his tears run freely as the pressure to be strong for his family in darkness was removed. But he kept a certain level of excitement in his heart, regardless. To him...this was the beginning of a brand new adventure. A moment that he not only accepted, but he welcomed with open arms. He was one vampire that could say he was honestly ready to go.
There he sat. Our Dylan. Our favorite baby boy.
Waiting patiently for the blazing sun....to take him home....
I'll miss you, my friend.
I'll miss you forever......
Thanks for reading, folks! More "GFD" to come! And if you get a chance, come visit the ComicalityShack YouTube channel for a collection of short gay films and tons of stuff to make ya think/laugh/crazy!
And keep a very close eye out for my new eBook stories at the